UK mobile phone giant Vodafone has confirmed it seeks to buy German cable network operator Kabel Deutschland. As Germany's biggest cable firm is already in the focus of other telecoms firms, its price tag is set to rise.
Vodafone had made a preliminary approach to Kabel Deutschland (KD), as it sought to make a possible offer for the German cable network operator, the British mobile phone company announced Wednesday.
"There is no certainty that any offer will ultimately be made, nor as to the terms on which any such offer might be made," the UK-based group added in a brief statement.
The move is seen as heating up the takeover race for Germany's biggest cable network operator, which, apart from Vodafone, has also been in the focus of US cable giant Liberty Global.
Hartman Capital analyst Basil Petrides told Reuters news agency that Vodafone's bid was to be considered as part of a defensive strategy, aimed at preventing a takeover by Liberty Global, which had already bought German cable networks Unitymedia and Kabel BW.
Vodafone has been pursuing a takeover of KD since earlier this year, and hired Goldman Sachs in search of advice on the deal, estimated to cost about 10 billion euros ($13 billion). Analysts said Vodafone must offer at least 80 euros for each KD share, and that it needed to cover the cable operator's debt to the tune of 2.8 billion euros.
In stock market reactions, Vodafone shares plummeted about 5 percent in London on Wednesday, while those in Kabel Deutschland surged more than 8 percent to 81 euros per share.
uhe/rc (AFP, Reuters, dpa)